Monday, October 10, 2011

a lesson in humidifiers

So I don't know how many other people really care about humidifiers except other moms and since that is about ½ of my blog I thought I would share J
I learned a couple of things and I found them useful, it’s new info for me but perhaps you already knew some of this.

Our humidifier hasn’t been making the baby’s room very humid. I decided to go online and do some research because our humidifier blows cool air and I grew up with warm mist. Do they still make warm air? Why don’t I really hear about them anymore? Which is better?
Here awesome answers in a nutshell:
Warm mist fell out of use for the most part when the cool mist was developed because it has to boil the water and has a potential to scald kids. In order to keep up with the safer cool mist though, the warm mist guys amped up their safety features so while there is still a risk it is not what it used to be. There’s automatic shut off and the boiling water and heating elements are more contained so that if it does get tipped over the hot water will not be as likely to reach your child and the cooler water will at least temper it down.
Cool mist has no risk of burns.
Both will have the same air temp by the time they get where they need to be in your lungs.

The hot water does get disinfected when it boils but because it creates a warmer environment bacteria can grow so keep an eye on that. The cool mist has antimicrobial properties but will not kill any germs that happen to be in it.
** Here was the big one for me**
The cool mist will require ongoing maintenance which I didn’t know about. Because it doesn’t evaporate the water it uses a wick. The wicks have to be replaced on average about once a year. So since our humidifier doesn’t work it is likely that the wick needs to be replaced. Since I got ours on clearance and I don’t even know where the wick is, I highly doubt that if I could find the right replacement I would know what to even do with it.  Upon further research, I discovered that our filter is also thw wick so that's easy. But!!!! Yuck! I had to replace the filter so often because it kept growing funky stuff an dI haven't been able to find the right filter for it in a while. My instruction manual didn’t say anything about any of this. Not all filters are the wick that the humidifier needs, it depends on the brand. The cool mist has a higher long term cost even though the initial investment is often lower.
The warm mist doesn’t have a wick so it’s pretty much good to go as long as you keep the mineral build up down. Warm air has a longer life span than the cool air if you have hard water. Again, not in the manual! Warm air has a medicine cup and you can add things like Vicks solutions that clear your chest. I’ve never used those types of additives but I think I might like to.
In the end I ordered a new WARM air humidifier because I don’t want to mess with our cool air one and I need it NOW, not in 3-6 weeks from some website that MIGHT carry the part I need.
I’m not going to throw out our cool mist unit though, I will look for a new wick and then I will eventually have a backup.
So there you have it, an FYI on humidifiers J

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